All that could be seen was the artificial street light that flooded the midnight road.
The midnight whisper, all that could be heard.
The city was asleep, still, static.
Under bed quilts and wrapped in dulcet dreams, the children played in fiction, whilst the policeman; fireman, lawyer and priest dwelled deep in unlawful, unholy temptations.
Only Rays eyes where open to see the dreaming urban desert.
Isolated with four wheels he alone explored the city with his eyes dry, dry like his martini.
His lips poisoned with its pungent fumes and bitter taste, a home remedy for insomnia.
Burdened with the heavy envy over the sleeping city he alone treaded through this wilderness.
Shot down at every set of traffic lights he tore himself apart until the lights shot at him with a sharp green GO!
In a cycle he stopped again and again, and again he’d tear and tear whilst insomnia slept in his mind and in his thoughts.
His mind drenched in confusion, in what to do?
Doctors and psychologists only hand you red little boxes with white sleeping pills.
Rays mind needed more, it needed rest, the shelter of soft velvet dreams, the ignorance of reality, the arrogance of fantasy.
But for now he was caught in the spaces between, now he was nothing but an observer, a night watchman, seeing the city fast and slow, awake and asleep.
Ray had driven the city inside out, around ever street bend down every dead end.
He was now repeating himself over again, starting from where he’d begun
Ray drove down Philip street, turned right to drive through the boulevard. Ray had a certain fondness for the boulevard, particularly at night when it wasn’t swamped with traffic jams or parades.
It was a beautiful drive there, the street lights bled onto the roads an amber glow, unlike the rest of the cities lights who spat a pale murky white. The boulevard was special, different. It was two wide roads one going south and one going north separated with a long stretch of old oak trees wedged between.
It was four o’clock in the morning and Ray set out to complete another lap of insomnia.
Driving along the boulevard he began driving faster and faster for there where no traffic lights that could halt him.
The cars wheels whirled through the crisp air whilst the engine grunted and slowly began to roar.
Oblivious to the city, the hush babies, the thousand tiny thoughts tied through every mans head and oblivious to the inedible miss hap, the glitch.
Ahead, staring Ray in the eye was his old enemy yet his only sympathizer. The traffic lights, the only other thing that seemed never to sleep.
It was at green and Ray felt with every nerve in his body that he was going to make it.
Still green and still faster and faster Ray drove, the street lights smudged together on his windscreen, the trees merged into long tall shrubs and the green light of the traffic lights drew Ray faster and faster towards it.
It only made sense to Ray that he keep driving, to stop would be such a hold up for him plus he was convinced he was alone in these streets.
There he came closer to the lights, approaching the cross roads at such speed and the red light was fast asleep whilst the green light welcomed him.
Ray was inline with the lights as he passed through the cross roads, though something was wrong.
A sequence was broken, something was missed out.
The green welcoming light yelling go go go! Was hushed in such a sudden rush with a red whispering don’t.
The amber light misplaced, somehow lost. The red turned to green, there was no warning no middle man which Ray expected from the amber.
Stranded in the middle of the road Ray felt time slow, stop. Everything was at such a static moment. Like the lights it had turned from fast to such a slow phase of time. Until the metal crunch awoke the deepest of fears dwelling deep in Rays heart. The car was volleyed back across the cross roads whilst the engine wheezed like a dog with no lungs. The wheels screamed and clenched rubber fingers onto the roads surface only to be hurled across the junction with the rest of its metal body.
A nightmare among the dreaming city, a crash with another battered and bruised car which lay beside Rays, both the cars coughed smoke and lay under a thin sheet of broken glass whilst Rays eyes slowly shut.
“Are you still drinking Ray?” asked Dr Hall.
“Yes.” Rays reply was dry
“Every day now”
“And how does it affect the insomnia?”
“Sometimes I’ll drift off a little, for an hour or two maybe but only sometimes.” Rays eyes where fixed on the therapies ceiling.
“Did the insomnia start when Martha died?” the question hung in the air like a man hung on a noose, the large clock on the wall by the door could be heard ticking for the first time during the whole session and Dr Hall was expecting a wait, to give the questions sting some time to ease in.
Rays face had lost its colour, he turned his head towards the wall hiding from Dr Hall.
The clock only asked the question again and again with every tic and toc.
Dr Hall lowered his glasses and then folded them in his hand as if he could sense an answer nearing.
The clock clogged the room in sheer anxiety, whilst Rays lips swiftly opened.
“I’ve never slept a night ever since.” Rays voice was as innocent as a childs.
He then turned and turned his attention the ceiling once again.
“It wasn’t fair, it was him that did it and he can go to bed every night and not lose a second of sleep.”
Dr Hall put his glasses back on and took some notes in his writing pad,
“Take me through what happened again Ray,”
“We where driving back to the city from Colorado and we stopped at this small resting spot, it was like a gas station and had a few outlets and a hotel and that. I was driving and was running low on gas so I got out filled the tank and that and Martha wanted to go to this food spot it was just across the main road. So she left to drive over park the car and get seats and that whilst I paid for the gas and bought some cigarettes. So I was coming out from the gas station and there I was coming up to the road I figured I’d have difficulty getting across due to the traffic and there wasn’t any crossings or anything so I lit a cigarette and had a smoke when I seen Marthas car turning round onto the other road, like to get to the food spot you’d have to drive along a little take a turn where you’d be on the road which allowed you to enter the car park. So Martha was at the turning point and she was clear I swear but this lorry it was driving on the other lane beside her but suddenly instead of driving on his lane he changed and drove straight into Martha. Front on.”
Ray felt hallow, his skin was pale and his lips could be mistaken for a purple colour.
“Martha died cos that guy fell asleep on the wheel, and it had to be that moment, that specific moment in time where his eyes shut and his hands slipped and turned the wheel straight into Martha. I mean a second earlier or later he’d just run off the road hit a ditch and wake up with a headache but he didn’t, he woke up and Martha didn’t.”
Dr Halls face shed a sympathetic look towards Ray, his heart sank deep in the Rays story usually he’d make notes but he was absorbed, even for his profession which adjusted him with a resistance a strength to act professional even under the most saddest and moving of emotions.
Though Dr Hall was only human, and showed it in his expression.
“And this man wasn’t jailed.” Stated Dr Hall his voice had lost its professional edge.
“Ray, it was wrong of this man to do this, it was a tragedy but it is done and there is nothing we can do but rehabilitate you in dealing with this anger over what happened.” Dr Halls voice was getting stronger again with its professional sound.
“I could go back in time and I could just drive straight to the food stop and get the gas later, or just forget about stopping in the first place.” Ray even though suggesting the highly hypothetical was serious and determined.
“You know there’s no law in physics which says you can’t go back in time.” Stated Ray.
“But how would you do that?” asked Dr Hall again lowering his glasses, a subtle hint that he was getting tired of this far fetched talk.
“I dunno, find a glitch, like you get in computer games. Like a glitch in time and just sort everything out.”
The sharp uninvited ringing of the small timer frightened both Dr Hall and Ray.
“Ah, that’s our time up Ray, I’m going to prescribe you with another dose of medication and I think you should come again next week again for another session. I feel we’re making good progress.”
Said Dr Hall.
Ray left the therapy with a little red box of medication. He felt different, a weird uninvited feeling had entered him. After talking about all that had happened left a pleasant relief as if a great weight been lifted from his shoulders.
He was in a sudden shock of new born optimism and behind the wheel of his new car he felt a sudden rush of adrenaline, and thought to himself Therapy isn’t working for me that’s never going to help me, I want vengeance that’s all and I know it and I hide it but Its true I want vengeance I want that mad to pay.
It was late already so he figured he’d go home have dinner fill the gas tank and head to the mans house.
Ray knew where he lived through a long series of nights following him and stalking. A large truck wasn’t hard to miss and when you seen it, it wasn’t hard to loose.
It was nearly four in the morning and Ray was behind schedule.
He rushed to the car and started his night quest to find the killer of his wife Martha.
The anxiety gnawed at his insides whilst his head boiled under the extreme self made pressure.
The car drove along the cities streets, you could hear the city breath in and out with every light passing wind. The street lights standing tall by the pavements glowing, the dim light dripping onto the black painted roads.
Time was ticking, Ray knew the man wouldn’t wake till round eight but still he felt this urge to arrive soon to execute the dark deed.
Faster and faster he drove through the dim lights and the cold crisp air, the wheels of his car making a slight crunching sound as if rolling over small pebbles, the engine sighed but was running at such speed.
The tall sky scrapers stabbed the midnight sky over looked by the moon sitting peacefully in among the faint stars.
It was a full moon that night but Ray didn’t take much notice, he was too focused.
Every set of traffic lights demanded Ray to stop but he didn’t he kept on driving and driving, every yard he drove he picked up more and more speed more pace more power.
Ray was coming up for the cities Boulevard crossroad where the lights turned green for the first time to accompany him and his self assigned mission.
Though there came a sudden miss hap. Once passing the crossroad he was hit by a car from the side,
the glass shattered and showered the street like glitter, the wheels bit the road and the engine started to cry and wheeze. The car was hurled across the road and lay at a still. Rays heart beated at his rib cage demanding freedom, his mind swollen in confusion. Rays eyes damp with tears and his intentions for killing where fused out.
The odd and estranged notion that he’d just stopped himself stained his mind.
Rays throat felt like grit, every deep breath scorched his tonsils and blistered every inch of tissue down his gullet. The pain swam through his body, down his arms, up his legs, it wrapped itself tightly round his ankles and nurtured thick tumours in the pit of his stomach.
Whilst swallowing panic he fought to keep his eyes open, though his eye lids grew heavy and slowly closed shut.